Distracted driving continues to be a huge concern as it is one of the leading causes of deaths on roadways and parents can play a huge role in prevention.
A powerful video campaign created by Grade 11 and 12 Communications Technology students at Prince Edward Collegiate Institute in partnership with Hastings Prince Edward Public Health this summer is gaining a lot of traction on the issue. The video aims to remind parents of the important role they play in teaching children safe driving habits including refraining from texting while behind the wheel.
At Friday’s board of health meeting, officials showed the video and discussed how it has become such a serious issue and pushed the need for teen safety as those aged 15 to 24 have the highest rate of motor vehicle collisions.
Public Health Nurse Kerri Jianopoulos said most of the injuries can be prevented and parents can play a huge role in showing their kids the importance in putting the phone down while driving.
Since 2009, approximately 600 deaths have been linked to distracted driving, on OPP-patrolled roads.
Public Health along with key community partners such as the Prince Edward OPP, County Fire Department, Hastings-Quinte Paramedic Service, the County of Prince Edward and Hastings Prince Edward District School Board said they were pleased to support the production of this video.
Prince Edward OPP Detachment Commander Barry Freeburn told the board of health texting has become an epidemic as it is surpassing drunk driving related deaths.
“We cannot control it,” he said pointing to the fact that technology is becoming more invasive. “We cannot get the message through. We have very limited ability to be able to influence people’s behaviour. We use more of a negative tool (charging people) or show the results of their actions. We are pleased to be a partner with the high school and health unit to get them to deliver a message that is proactive so we can get people to change their behaviour before the accident and they have to experience the consequences.”